The Manufacturing Process
Even though sand is a natural product that takes millions of years to form, it still has to go through several processes before it can have a practical use. This is mainly to separate the grains of sand by size, so that they can be used for different applications.
Firstly the sand needs to be extracted from the ground. In some places, such as Cheshire, this involves removing the topsoil to reach the sand underneath. In other places the sand is transported by river during the weathering process, meaning a lot of sand settles at the bottom of riverbeds. The sand is then extracted, sometimes by dredging the riverbed, other times by simple scooping some of the riverbed away using a front loader.
Once it has been extracted the sand is washed in order to remove any silt that may have been brought up with it. The sand is then separated into its various grain sizes. This can only be done using a water bath, so that the larger grains fall to the bottom, and the finer grains rise to the top. The sand is then removed layer by layer ready to be used for specific purposes.
Building sand is classified as at the finer end of the range, normally between 63 microns and 2mm. Grit sand on the other hand can be between 2mm and 5mm. Therefore, the separation of sand is vital to insuring you get the right sand for your job.